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Velvet Overground

Today’s fashion and design community has a crush (I apologise) on velvet with its luxurious look and uncompromising comfort. In the fashion world, top designers are stitching up elegant gowns and gold-trimmed velvet slippers, as well as tailored jackets. Accessories have gone soft, too: vintage velvet chokers add elegance, velvet flowers tuck into lapels, and beaded velvet compacts add a touch of plush to the purse.

As we have seen before, interior design is never slow to follow suit so in the home, the look translates to jewel-tone silk velvet pillows and slipcovers, eyelet chenille curtains, sturdy stripes or other modern geometrics, and pretty ribbons and trims.

Velvet is a wonderful choice to warm up your home in the cold-weather months. It’s an old fabric made new again, coming in new textures and colours. Once used as part of only the most formal interiors, velvet has learned to loosen up. It is available in a chenille pattern; a lush, stamped look; striped silk velvet, which is an upgrade of inexpensive cotton corduroy; or a crushed look that adds richness to an accent piece. There’s also metallic velvet, which has a silky feel but also the nap and pile that makes it velvet. Velvet tiebacks are a great way to add some fine detail to as room without being too obvious, as are velvet chenille throws, velvet pillows or a velvet slipcover for an armchair.

Velvet is also now available in many more vibrant, youthful colours than before- bright blue or lime green, for example- great for details like pillows or perhaps in a guest room or a child’s room.

If you love the look of velvet but aren’t so keen on the price, a more affordable alternative is velour. It has a little more give to it and is stretchy. It’s also the only washable type of velvet- as any other type you use must be dry-cleaned. Velour is therefore perfect for those with children who are likely to put any home furnishings to extensive and vigorous durability tests

Silk velveteen or velvet should not be used alone for curtains, because the sun can really damage silk. If you are using these for curtain fabric make sure it is backed with cotton lining.

One way to use velvet as an accent is to add some velvet ribbon to an inexpensive polyester sheer curtain liner with no-sew tape- a convenient alternative to stitching which can be picked up online or in any craft shop. Put the no-sew tape down along the inside edge of the curtain liner and then pin the velveteen ribbon in place on top. Cover the ribbon with a tea towel before ironing it in place — never iron directly on top of velvet. Also use low heat to iron so you won’t burn the velvet or the polyester liner.

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